Sunday, January 14, 2018
Pat Metheny - 1977 "Watercolors"
The AllMusic review by Richard S. Ginell awards the album 4 stars and states: "Metheny's softly focused, asymmetrical guitar style, with echoes of apparent influences as disparate as Jim Hall, George Benson, Jerry Garcia, and various country guitarists, is quite distinctive even at this early juncture. Metheny's long-running partnership with keyboardist Lyle Mays also begins here, with Mays mostly on acoustic piano but also providing a few mild synthesizer washes."
“Pat Metheny was virtually defining a new musical form on this 1977 date, blending folk, country, and pop elements with jazz and creating a gentler, more intimate idiom than fusion had been. His distinctively chorused electric guitar often floats over the smooth textures created by his own acoustic six-stringer, Lyle Mays’ piano, and Danny Gottlieb’s discreet drumming, while Eberhard Weber’s electric and acoustic bass lines rise to ricochet with the guitar leads. The song titles abound with watery images, and they’re perfectly in keeping with this flowing music, which tends to a pale, even pastel, palette and an ethereal lightness. “River Quay,” particularly, suggests the sound of the Pat Metheny Group that would come later.”
From the opening strains of Pat Metheny’s second album, we immediately know that we have a calming yet powerful journey ahead of us. The present company—among which keyboardist Lyle Mays, a Pet Metheny Group fixture, makes his first appearance—renders his characteristic combination of form and style into an instinctive wash of comfort. Mays’s pianism proves the perfect complement to the guitarist’s untainted sound. Just listen to the way he buoys the music in the opening title track, and his fluent solo in “River Quay,” and you will hardly be able to imagine the music without him. We get a lingering look at Metheny’s own abilities in “Icefire,” in which he solos on a cleverly tuned 12-string that lobs between solid chords and higher callings. Midway through, the music melts into its second titular half, flowering in a cluster of Ralph Towner-esque harmonics. “Oasis” introduces the harp guitar, a sympathetically strung instrument that shines in Metheny’s hands like the charango in Gustavo Santaolalla’s. A mournful electric sings at its center, ever shielded by an unrequited embrace of acoustics. Varied rhythms and bold chord changes animate its otherwise stagnant beauty. After these quiet submersions, we come up into air, and into light, with the beautiful “Lakes,” which positively glows with quiet ecstasies. Again, Mays broadens the edges to new waterlines, cresting like a wave that never crashes upon its thematic shores. A two-part suite proves a complex call and response with the self before the 10-minute “Sea Song” reprises the harp guitar for its swan song. The music here is beyond aquatic, and could easily have seeded a Ketil Bjørnstad project. Eberhard Weber’s smooth bass introduces the morning’s regular activities with the first rays of sunrise in countless awakening eyes, before rolling out once again, drawn back into the depths like the tide that gives them life.
Metheny’s precision dives and soars, a most selfless bird, his fingers running together like the colors of the album’s title. His supporting crew is in tune at every moment (and one mustn’t fail to praise Dan Gottlieb’s drumming in this regard), protecting every melody with passionate detail. This is perfect music for travel, for the music travels itself. It’s a plane ride above a shimmering landscape, a hang-glide over open valleys, a dive into crystal waters—and yet, our feet never leave the ground. One might call it otherworldly, were it not so firmly rooted in the earth in all its glory. Pure magic from start to finish.
Pat Metheny emerges on his second album, Watercolors, as an ECM impressionist, generally conforming to the label's overall sound while still asserting his own personality. As the title suggests, there are several mood pieces here that are suspended in the air without rhythmic underpinning, a harbinger for the new age invasion still in the future. Metheny's softly focused, asymmetrical guitar style, with echoes of apparent influences as disparate as Jim Hall, George Benson, and various country guitarists, is quite distinctive even at this early juncture. Metheny's long-running partnership with keyboardist Lyle Mays also begins here, with Mays mostly on acoustic piano but also providing a few mild synthesizer washes. Danny Gottlieb is on drums, and ECM regular Eberhard Weber handles the bass. This is essentially the first album by the Pat Metheny Group per se, although the band had yet to find its direction in this somewhat diffuse showing.
1 Watercolors 6:28
2 Icefire 6:07
3 Oasis 4:02
4 Lakes 4:43
5 River Quay 4:56
6 Suite- I. Florida Greeting Song 2:30
7 Suite- II. Legend Of The Fountain 2:28
8 Sea Song 10:16
Pat Metheny – 6-and 12-string electric guitar, 15 string harp guitar
Lyle Mays – piano
Eberhard Weber – double bass
Danny Gottlieb – drums
Posted by Crimhead420 at 11:15 PM